Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Academic Fraud and Academic Hypocrisy

I despise fraud. I especially despise academic fraud, as when people claim degrees and titles that they don't deserve. The latter type of fraud is rampant in Israeli public life, wherein politicians and other suspect types perpetually wave credentials that aren't worth the paper they're written on. Thus, in the past few years, we've seen MK's and Police officers convicted of receiving pay raises from fly by night 'universities.'

At the same time, I despise hypocrisy even more.

This week Esterina Tartman, MK from Yisrael Beitenu, was nominated to serve as Minister for Tourism. Expectedly, the Left reacted with its typical hysteria. Tartman is a settler, a mother of four and doesn't trust Arabs ("What does she think? Does she think we're at war?"). Immediately, they started looking for a way to shoot down her nomination. Of course, they found one. Tartman listed herself as having a BA in Economics from Bar Ilan and an MA in the same from Hebrew U. Well, it emerges that the latter is false and the former degree was from Touro College and not from Bar Ilan. (Though Touro is, and always was, a fully recognized and (now) accredited instituion in Israel.)

This was molto stupido on her part, and she will likely pay with her ministerial position (as is proper). That's really a shame, because Tartman is a talented woman and would probably have been a good minister.

Nevertheless, the attacks on her emanate from circles that are so corrupt and hypocritical that 'my hands were clinched with rage' (Don McClean). Consider, the same self-important avatars of political and intellectual purity are perfectly willing to overlook the exact same sins among their own. As investigative reporter Yoav Yitzhak notes: a) Supreme Court Justice Edna Arbel lied about having an MA in Law b) Israel Democracy Institute head Aryeh Carmon lied about being a Professor (and was forced to apologize to the President of Hebrew University) c) Media darling, self-appointed philosopher and former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg never finished his BA. However, no one has even suggested that Arbel be deposed, Carmon be dismissed or Burg (well, thank God he left politics-for now). True, Carmon apologized for his fraud but is still referred to as 'Professor.' (Maybe he plays piano.)

Fear neither the Pharisees or the Saduccees, but rather the hypocrites; who act like Zimri and seek to be rewarded like Phineas.


Gil Student said...

As a tenured professor in thermodynamics at Harvard and a rosh yeshiva in the Mir, I object to these shenanigans.

DTC said...

And as a member of the USA Team of 1980 to the Summer Olympics, I am just appalled at the allegations.